There’s something thrilling about seeing the words “secret location” on an event flyer. In Brooklyn, “secret location” typically means two things: 1) you’ll probably end up in a Bushwick warehouse that sits on the edge of a dark backroad; and 2) since the party is hush-hush, you can expect to party until late dawn. Both of these criteria applied to the second edition of Chromed, the brainchild of Housing Corp, Something Different, and other dance music collectives (including Tribes and The Deep) around New York City.
I get off at the subway stop and immediately begin walking toward the “secret location.” The only sounds I hear are revving car engines and intoxicated strangers in the distance, all laced with muffled beats coming from all directions. Five-foot-tall brick walls surround these empty sidestreets, with LED lights and lasers glaring sharply through their windows. Warehouses, especially in this part of town, are Brooklyn’s newest favored nightlife joints. Mysterious San Diego producer ZHU performed at one for his inaugural New York show last November, and techno god Chris Liebing blessed a space for BKWRHS last month. It’s easy to see why warehouses are rapidly gaining popularity within the electronic music community: these kinds of industrial structures are where what we know as “raves” all began. And without a dress code, curfew, or any other rules for that matter, anything goes when you’re at a warehouse party.
Over 400 revelers are shouting in excitement when I walk in. It’s 12:30am, and the Chromed crew’s dgro subtly mashes into “Jack” by Breach, a modern UK garage anthem. With only fifteen minutes left of his set, it’s a funky introduction to some of New York’s most talented underground house artists.
After buying a drink from the bar’s limited menu – at least they had whiskey! – I circle the main floor. Abstract sculptures embellish the walls and stage, complete with impressive 3D projection-mapping. They make for eye-catching visuals akin to what you might find at a small festival. Some partiers snap selfies beneath them, while others stare in awe, and the air is filled with fog – or is it smoke? Half of everyone I run into has a cigarette, vape, or other paraphernalia in one hand. That’s the thing about these kinds of secret parties: you can smoke whatever and whenever you want. If you’ve got a stash, have at it.
Half of Housing Corp is behind the decks now, starting a brilliant set of garage house. With their sharp beats and throwback melodies, they’re reminiscent of The Magician. I stay downstairs to groove for another half-hour as the DJ remixes Gorgon City’s “Ready for Your Love” before heading up to the second floor, where the ambience is a little different.
While the BPM is sped up downstairs, Conrad Clifton shows the upstairs crowd a slower tempo with his chill trap. I notice a doorway leading into a brightly lit room further in. Well, I’ve found the tripatorium! The Chromed cave is completely wrapped in a crumpled, silver material, reinstating the “Chromed” concept. Chris D’Acunto, the party’s featured live painter, explains that the room evokes an image of Andy Warhol’s studio. Abstract paintings are laden on the floor and walls as people mill about. “Are you sober?” one girl asks me with genuine curiosity. (FYI: I am, for the most part.) Behind her, Chris is working on another large-scale piece beside a neon pink light. Underground house, 3D sculptures, and a live painter: I’m definitely in Bushwick. This is what I love.
Back on the main floor, a guy throws toilet paper in the air during Higgins set. The party gets rowdier by the minute. I’m preparing to leave, but The Deep’s NSR and David Kiss keep playing hit after hit. Instead of out the door, I’m at the front dancing freely with strangers, as we all should be.
After a night like this, it’s clear that Chromed is set for success. I’ve already got my dancing shoes ready for the third edition.
All photos by Sara Wass Photography